The 49ers would love to see three quarterbacks selected within the first dozen picks of next week’s NFL Draft.
If Joe Burrow (LSU), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) and Justin Herbert (Oregon) are chosen -- as expected -- before the 13th pick, the 49ers are assured of getting a top-10 prospect from their board.
Then, they have reason to hope the fourth quarterback is still unclaimed when it is their turn to pick again at No. 31 overall.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Bay Area and California sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
That fourth quarterback -- more than likely Utah State's Jordan Love -- potentially could be the selection for the penultimate pick of the first round.
Would the 49ers consider taking a quarterback at No. 31?
That does not appear to make much sense, considering the club kept three quarterbacks on their roster last season because they felt Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard were NFL-caliber players behind starter Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 49ers were not going to just cut loose a quarterback they felt could play, and play well. Moreover, general manager John Lynch said the 49ers turned down trade opportunities because their price was not met.
San Francisco 49ers
If the draft plays out the way the 49ers would like, another team could want to trade with the 49ers into the back end of the first round to select a quarterback. And the 49ers appear eager to trade back to have a presence on the second day of the NFL draft.
Love is a talented player with a boom-or-bust label, but he doesn't appear to be the type of QB who would provide the 49ers with what coach Kyle Shanahan values.
Consider the biggest knock on Garoppolo last year in his first full NFL season as a starter were his interceptions. Garoppolo threw 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 16 regular-season games. His completion percentage was 69.1.
In 13 games as a third-year starter, Love threw 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. His completion percentage was 61.9. He bypassed his final college season to enter the draft. The game only gets more difficult with better athletes and more difficult-to-read defenses at the next level.
So even though Love might not be a logical option for the 49ers at No. 31, that does not mean the 49ers can’t still benefit from his availability late in the first round.
Quarterbacks are prime trade targets near the end of the first round because the cost is relatively inexpensive with tremendous possible rewards. With all first-round draft picks, the club owns the fifth-year option at a non-negotiable set salary to keep the players under contract for one season beyond the mandatory four-year rookie contract.
The 49ers might desire to bail out of the No. 31 overall pick to accumulate more picks. But that is only possible if another team targets a player to go get. Love could be that player -- if only he lasts that long.